Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Kabul documentary film workshop on it’s way to autonomy




From July the 29th to October the 12th 2006, a first training workshop took place at the faculty of fine arts of the Kabul University
Ten students, of which four women from various groups of the Afghan society took part in the experience.

The workshop was a success. Ten short documentaries were shot by the ten first participants, depicting today’s realities of a reconstructing country with an insight view. All the films were broadcast by Radio Television Afghanistan in 2007. They had and still have an incredible career in international film festivals.
The equipment – cameras, editing and projection facilities - remained in Kabul at the Goethe-Institut for the students to use.

In 2007 we started a second level workshop around the writing, the production and shooting of a documentary serial “Children of Kabul“. The workshop featured an editing option. Eight people( mostly from the 2006 workshop) took part, five as directors and three as editors.
The project continued in 2008 with the last shootings, a first editing session and the screening of the films in Kabul.

The films were then finally edited in Paris with their young Afghan directors.
The post production of the series (grading, subtitling) was achieved in October.
The series was broadcast in May by our coproducer Ciné Cinéma.
The films have already be screened in three major international film festivals : The Leipzig DOK (end October), Festival des Trois Continents in Nantes (end of November) and last but not least, the Cannes Festival (Pavillon les cultures du monde) in May 2009.

The production of “Children of Kabul“ has been a fruitful experience that led us to define the following


PROGRAM FOR 2009 :
Our group of young filmmakers needs to expand, and new people should join. We are holding another first level workshop in spring 2009 for ten new participants. The workshop has started on the 2nd of may at the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society, our latest partner. The senior students are taking part as tutors of their younger colleagues.

Our young filmmakers have hardly ever been exposed to “film culture“. They need to see films. We will take part in the project of reviving the weekly screenings organised by the French Cultural Centre (CCF) with the Goethe-Institut at CCF.

They need to continue learning how to research, elaborate and write a documentary film project. They also need to become more autonomous. We will continue helping them, but only if they come up with personal projects.

The workshop needs to find an autonomous, independent, permanent basis to host it’s activities. Finding that basis will be one of 2009’s challenges

If we manage to achieve this in 2009, we will be close to what our goal was when we started, creating an autonomous documentary film centre, able to produce and stand as the core of an Afghan “documentary scene“. We will continue helping the group in 2010 as closely as we have been doing so far, and start gradually retreating from 2011, without of course loosing contact.

PROGRAM OF THE 2009 FIRST LEVEL WORKSHOP

The workshop lasts 12 weeks

During the 12 weeks of the workshop each participant shoots a short (around 20 minutes) documentary film.
The first 4 weeks of the workshop are dedicated to learning how to use the equipment, seeing and discussing classic documentary films, shooting exercises, researching and discussing each students’ film project.
For the 5 next weeks, the students are shooting their films on the field. Each student directs his film on camera and is helped by other students on sound. The rushes are seen and criticized by the staff of the workshop with the other students.
The 3 last weeks are dedicated to the editing of the films. Each participant edits for seven days with a professional editor.
The last day of the workshop the films are screened to a large audience.

Festivals and broadcasting of the films

2006 Workshop

All the films were screened several times at the French Cultural Centre of Kabul.

“My Kabul“ by Waheed Nazir

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); 25th Festival Cinéma d'Alès "Itinérances" France (March 2007) ; 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul (May 2007) ; FIKE, International Short Film Festival of Evora, Portugal (Sept 2007) ; "Champ contre champs" Lassalle France (May 2007), Iran International Documentary Film Festival, section Two neighbours, Irak and Afghanistan (Oct 2007) ; Rotterdam International Film Festival (Jan 2008); Festival International Cinémas d'Asie de Vesoul France (Feb 2008); Festival International du Film de Fribourg Switzerland (March 2008); National Art Gallery Washington USA (July 2008); San Giò Festival, Verona, Italy (July 2008) ; International Documentary Film Festival, Doclisboa, Portugal (Oct 2008) ; Leipzig DOK, (Oct 2008). Films d’autres part, Lausanne Switzerland (Oct 2008) ; Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes (Dec 2008).
Special mention of the jury at the International Short Film Festival of Evora, Portugal, Best documentary editing at the 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul

“Dream of light“ by Ebrahim Bamiani

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); 25e Festival Cinéma d'Alès "Itinérances" " France (March 2007) ; "Champs contre champs" à Lassalle, Iran International Documentary Film Festival, section Two neighbours, Irak and Afghanistan (Oct 2007) ; Festival International du Film de Fribourg Switzerland (March 2008); Festival International du court-métrage de Téhéran (Nov 2008) ; Leipzig DOK, (Oct 2008) ; Films d’autres part, Lausanne Switzerland (Oct 2008) ; Semaine du film documentaire de Fès (Morocco) (Dec 2008)

“Laila“ by Batol Rezeai Muradi

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); 24ème Festival d'Alès "Itinérances" (March 2007) ; Iran International Documentary film Festival (Oct 2007) ; Festival International du Film de Fribourg Switzerland (March 2008) ; Split film festival, Croatia (Sept. 2008) ; Films d’autres part, Lausanne Switzerland (Oct 2008)
Special prize of the jury at the Split Film Festival, Croatia

“A day in the life of Rahela“ by Del Afroz Zeerak

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007) ; 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul (May 2007); Leipzig DOK, (Oct. 2008).
Best documentary director award, at the 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul

“Back to Ghawas“ by Sediqa Rezaei

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); Festival International de Films de Fribourg Switzerland (March 2008) ; San Giò Festival, Verona, Italy (July 2008) ; Films d’autres part, Lausanne (Oct 2008)

“Issa the wrestler“ by Reza Hosseini Yemak

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); Iran International Documentary Film Festival, section Two neighbours, Irak and Afghanistan (Oct. 2007)

“Lima“ by Mohammad Mehdi Zafari

Radio Television Afghanistan (2007); 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul (May 2007) European Inter University centre for Human Rights and Democratization Venice Italy (summer 2007) ; Berlinale Talent Campus Berlin (Dec 2007)

“The way of Taekwando “ by Nazifa Zakizada
Radio Television Afghanistan; “Splice in program“ at the “24th Kassel Documentary Film & Video Festival“ (Nov. 2007).

“Patcha Khan“ by Taj Mohammad Bakhtari
Radio Television Afghanistan (2007).

“The forsaken“ by Saïd Sulaiman Sanjar Azizi
Radio Television Afghanistan (2007).
Children of Kabul 2008

“Bulbul the city bird“ by Reza Hosseini Yemak,
Leipzig DOK, (October 2008). Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes (November 2008), Cinema encounters of Dignes les bains (April 2009), Pavillon les Cinémas du Monde, Cannes Festival (May 2009).

“Sahar the young carpet maker“ by Taj Mohammad Bakhtari,
Leipzig DOK, (October 2008). Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes (November 2008), Cinema encounters of Dignes les bains (April 2009), Pavillon les Cinémas du Monde, Cannes Festival (May 2009).


“Bricks and dreams“ by Sediqa Rezaei,
Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes (November 2008), Cinema encounters of Dignes les bains (April 2009), Pav. les Ciné du Monde Cannes Festival (May 2009).

“Once upon a time Noor Jehan“ by Ali Hazara,
Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes (November 2008), Cinema encounters of Dignes les bains (April 2009), Pav. les Ciné du Monde Cannes Festival (May 2009).

“The young musicians of Kharabat“ by Waheed Nazir,
Festival des Trois Continents, Nantes (November 2008), Cinema encounters of Dignes les bains (April 2009), Pav. les Ciné du Monde Cannes Festival (May 2009).

The complete series will be broadcast in May by Cine Cinema within a special Afghan week.Ateliers Varan around the world

Ateliers Varan’s hands on documentary filmmaking course encourages students to take a fresh look at the world. Neither a school in the classical nor academic sense, Ateliers Varan’s teaching methods lay strong emphasis on learning through practice.
Students focus on making a full-scale film. Free from audiovisual market constraints, participants are encouraged to dive into the adventure of cinematography. Young filmmakers work their way towards self-expression.
As students move through the different stages of their film, they learn about cinema language, camera handling, sound recording, directing and editing.
Directing your own documentary film speeds up the learning process .

Ateliers Varan, an internationally recognised French film school acts as a consultant to UNESCO and collaborates regularly with the Communication Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nonprofit association and non-governmental organization, it is a member of CILECT (the association of the world’s major film and television schools).

Varan has set up workshops in various countries around the world. At the end of the filmmaking course, Ateliers Varan stays on for the time necessary to help the group of young filmmakers run the workshop autonomously, thanks to the equipment left in place.

Training courses can be organised at a country’s request, in liaison with representative organisations, such as universities, TV networks, unions, film schools and cultural organisations... 25 years ago, Ateliers Varan chose to give the opportunity of mastering audiovisual tools to those who didn’t have access to them. Today, the use of digital video is available almost everywhere. However, the standardised programmes presented by the media leave little room for an author’s vision and the documentary genre is often absent from everyday audiovisual programmes.

.Since it’s creation, Ateliers Varan, has set up workshops on every continent in over twenty countries :

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bolivia, Brasil, Cambodia, Columbia, Kenya, Laos, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, New Caledonia, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Philipines, Rumania, Serbia-Montenegro, South Africa, South Caucase, Venezuela, Vietnam

The 2009 workshop participants at the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society

Contacts in Kabul : Séverin Blanchet, severin.blanchet@wanadoo.fr +93 797 33 12 17
Mehdi Zafari, mehdi_zafari2002@yahoo.com +93 799 42 79 18

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